Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Trackback Spam

Roller seems to have done a pretty good job of suppressing comment spammers. The math question seems to trip up automated scripts and I only get about 1 or 2 spam comments per month. At least, I only see 1 or 2 per month - many get marked as spam and just sit in the database - never to be displayed. However, recently I've started to notice a lot of Trackback spam.

I dive into my "comment" table a few times a week to format comments so they look like their author intended them to look (I never alter wording). In the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a buttload of spam trackbacks (up to 10-20 per day). Here is an example. How do we go about stopping trackback spam? I'm guessing the easiest way is to disable trackbacks.

Posted in Roller at Oct 04 2005, 10:42:45 AM MDT 9 Comments

I've noticed a strong uptick in trackback spam recently too. Roller filters trackbacks through the MT blacklist, but that's not enough. Until we put better trackback spam fighting measures in place, I recommend disabling incoming trackbacks entirely.

Posted by Dave Johnson on October 04, 2005 at 11:11 AM MDT #

It has been my experience that the 10-20 a day stage will be followed by thousands per hour stages. On most sites within weeks of the test probes they will send crippling levels of trackback spam that, even if not displayed, will tie up system resources with database calls, logging etc.

I'm a fan of Bad Behavior which works for PHP and might be a model to look at for Roller. It analyzes the request and can reject it based on a wide variety of known spam patterns. When I turned off logging (which still takes a bit of database resource) it had stopped 63,000+ trackback and comment (mostly trackback) spam messages on one site alone. Because of how it works false positives are very low and can be fixed pretty easily.

Posted by Joshua Brauer on October 04, 2005 at 11:37 AM MDT #

Dave - I thought "disable trackbacks" was a feature, but it doesn't seem to be. Do I have to hack my web.xml and a template or two to make this change?

Posted by Matt Raible on October 04, 2005 at 11:43 AM MDT #

hi there,

Can't spammers use google to do the simple math ? :-)


Posted by anjan bacchu on October 04, 2005 at 01:20 PM MDT #

I'm not even sure trackbacks are necessary if you have a good stats app. They're also great for cluttering up the page and having your visitors read something they've already read in the post. I turned them off right after the spam started to get reaaaaally annoying.

Posted by PJ Hyett on October 04, 2005 at 03:16 PM MDT #

Hi Matt, The trackback spam problem is a nightmare at the 200 or so blogs now at Che Blogs. Any ideas about how I can turn them off for all blogs on the server? Thanks for any insights. Brian

Posted by Brian Blakeley on October 04, 2005 at 09:39 PM MDT #

Matt and Brian, unfortunately the only way to disable trackbacks is to remove (or comment out) the trackback servlet mapping from web.xml. - Dave

Posted by Dave Johnson on October 05, 2005 at 06:05 AM MDT #

Thanks Dave!

Posted by Brian Blakeley on October 05, 2005 at 06:30 AM MDT #

[Trackback] Hey guys! It's cool site!

Posted by from Jhon Smit on November 19, 2005 at 06:43 PM MST #

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